The fall and winter seasons bring cooler temperatures and shorter days, which means less natural light. Sunlight (even when diffused behind cloud cover) provides significant health benefits, and having too little natural light can negatively affect a person’s health and well-being. From boosting Vitamin D levels to improving mood, natural light boasts a number of benefits. Here’s a look at the importance of natural light and how to get more.
Understanding the Benefits of Natural Light
We live in an age of technology and convenience, which often translates to less time outdoors. It’s important to realize that natural light plays and important role in regulating circadian rhythms (the internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycles) and offers major mood-boosting powers. Here are some of the benefits of natural light:
- Increases Vitamin D Stores. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps keeps bones strong, boosts immunity, prevents weight gain and even helps fight some diseases, in addition to boosting mood.
- Improves Sleep. Numerous studies have shown a link between the number of hours of natural light and the quality of sleep.
- Wards off SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects some 6% of the population and is characterized by depression during the fall and winter months. Getting more Vitamin D can help fight off SAD and can also help reduce its symptoms.
How to Get More Natural Light
Those with mobility issues or who live in an isolated place may find it difficult to get more natural light. However, regardless of your level of activity, there are lots of ways to get more light in your life – here are a few:
- Exercise Outside. Fitness is great for your health in many ways, but taking your workout outside once in a while can help you double up on the health benefits. Take a walk, try an outdoor yoga or tai chi class or hit the golf greens to get more natural light while you exercise.
- Step Out with Your Community. If you’re part of a community group or organization that meets regularly, such as a book club or worship group, try taking your meeting outside for a change.
- Meet a Friend Outdoors. Social time outside can be fun. Find an outdoor bench and enjoy a warm cup of tea or coffee with a friend while you soak in some light.
- Use More Mirrors in Your Home. Light bounces off a mirrored surface thereby maximizing the amount of natural light in a room.
- Gaze Out a Window. If you are not able to get outdoors, boost your exposure to natural light by situating yourself near a big window while reading, crafting or doing other indoor activities.
- Employ Light Therapy. If you really struggle with getting outdoors and find that your mood is negatively impacted by shorter days, try using a light therapy lamp. These lamps are available at many stores and online retailers.
At Lighthouse Senior Living, we believe that a holistic approach to mental and physical health is the key to a long and healthy life. Contact us to schedule a tour or to learn more about our communities located in Ellicott City and Baltimore County’s Hopkins Creek.